Home > Personal, Political > Germany’s Lack of Church/State Separation

Germany’s Lack of Church/State Separation

October 8th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

During a conversation with two of my students yesterday, I was reminded of something that most Americans don’t know about Germany—that there is no separation of church and state. If you’re a member of a church, you pay extra taxes which go to the church. This is one of the biggest reasons that far fewer Germans are church members—there is a financial incentive not to be.

For those who pay the extra tax, the church uses this money to do their standard church things, like building and maintaining churches and kindergartens and doing positive work in various communities. But the church is also politically active. They give money to political parties more closely aligned with their own views.

My students work for E.ON, one of Europe’s largest energy companies which earns a large portion of its profits from nuclear energy. Two of Germany’s political parties, the Green Party and the SPD, are opposed to nuclear energy. Those parties receive some donations from the church.

Because he is a member of the church, one of my students is technically funding the effort to rid Germany of nuclear energy, which would in turn put his job in jeopardy. He recognizes the absurdity of this, and is considering leaving the church because of it.

I just found this very interesting. Germans in general are far less religious than Americans in general, but they don’t have a separation of church and state. Not only that, but Sunday is still the day of rest, in which everything from supermarkets to outlet stores and even most pharmacies are closed. On the surface, you’d expect the people to be more religious but that’s not the case at all.

There are many candidates running for office in America, especially now with the rise of the Tea Party, who would like to do away with the separation of church and state. They might want to consider how this might actually be to the church’s detriment.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.